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NASA Scientists Reveal New Information on Mars’ Formation and Evolution, Claim The Red Planet has a Porous Crust

NASA scientists claim the new revelations could help them better understand the interior structure and evolution of Mars

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Access Mars
Google collaborated with NASA to produce Access Mars that lets users wander the actual dunes and valleys explored by NASA's Curiosity rover.. Wikimedia

Washington, Septemeber 15, 2017 : Mars’s crust is not as dense as previously thought and a lower density likely means that at least part of the Red Planet’s crust is relatively porous, says a new NASA study.

The findings, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, provide researchers clue that could help them better understand the interior structure and evolution of Mars.

“The crust is the end-result of everything that happened during a planet’s history, so a lower density could have important implications about Mars’s formation and evolution,” said study lead author Sander Goossens of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The researchers mapped the density of the Martian crust, estimating the average density is 2,582 kgs per metre cubed. That’s comparable to the average density of the lunar crust.

Typically, Mars’s crust has been considered at least as dense as Earth’s oceanic crust, which is about 2,900 kgs per metre cubed.

The new value is derived from Mars’s gravity field, a global model that can be extracted from satellite tracking data using sophisticated mathematical tools.

Previous estimates relied more heavily on studies of the composition of Mars’s soil and rocks.

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“As this story comes together, we’re coming to the conclusion that it’s not enough just to know the composition of the rocks,” study co-author Greg Neumann, a planetary geologist at Goddard, said.

“We also need to know how the rocks have been reworked over time,” Neumann said.

Goossens and colleagues started with the same data used for an existing gravity model but put a new twist on it by coming up with a different constraint and applying it to obtain the new solution.

A constraint compensates for the fact that even the best data sets can’t capture every last detail.

Instead of taking the standard approach, known to those in the field as the Kaula constraint, the team created a constraint that considers the accurate measurements of Mars’s elevation changes, or topography.

“With this approach, we were able to squeeze out more information about the gravity field from the existing data sets,” said Goddard geophysicist Terence Sabaka.  (IANS)

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NASA Astronauts Spacewalk to Change ISS Batteries

Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 55 days, 21 hours and 39 minutes working outside the station

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NASA researchers have created the atmosphere of a super-hot planet outside our solar system, here on Earth. Pixabay

Two NASA astronauts – Nick Hague and Anne McClain – have successfully completed an over six hour spacewalk and replaced the ageing batteries on the International Space Station (ISS).

During the six hour, 39 minute spacewalk, Hague and McClain replaced nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays, NASA said in a statement on Friday.

They also installed adapter plates and hooked up electrical connections for three of the six new lithium-ion batteries installed on the station’s starboard truss.

These new batteries provide an improved power capacity for operations with a lighter mass and a smaller volume than the nickel-hydrogen batteries.

The batteries store power generated by the station’s solar arrays to provide power to the station when the station is not in the sunlight, as it orbits the Earth during orbital night.

In addition, the astronaut duo also removed debris from outside of the station, securing a tieback for restraints on the Solar Array Blanket Box, NASA said.

NASA, mars
NASA will also have its first all-female spacewalk at the end of the month, when astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will get to float around in space. The spacewalk will last about seven hours, according to the US space agency. Pixabay

McClain will again take a spacewalk on March 29 along with flight engineer Christina Koch to work on a second set of battery replacements on a different power channel in the same area of the ISS.

This would be the first-ever spacewalk with all-female spacewalkers, NASA said.

A third spacewalk on April 8 by Hague and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency will lay out jumper cables between the Unity module and the S0 truss, at the midpoint of the ISS’s backbone.

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This work will establish a redundant path of power to the Canadian-built robotic arm, known as Canadarm2. They will also install cables to provide for more expansive wireless communications coverage outside the orbital complex, as well as for enhanced hardwired computer network capability.

Space station crew members have until now conducted 214 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory.

Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 55 days, 21 hours and 39 minutes working outside the station. (IANS)